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Cornell University


Monday, August 14, 2017
BEST funded trainee wins 3rd place at case competition

Varun Kopparthy, a postdoc at the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, is interested in a career in consulting, and now knows many consulting companies want to hire advanced degree candidates. How better to help decide whether this career path is for him than to be a consultant? He wanted to understand what a consulting career involves and how to tackle a business case. In doing research to learn more, he came across the Tufts New England Case Competition (TUNECC) and applied to gain a better understanding and experience of a consulting career, and to network with peers and consulting firms. The competition is sponsored by industry giants Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Putnam Associates.

Varun received BEST Program funding to attend the competition and his team was awarded third place -and $500- for their solution developed while collaborating remotely. The diverse team included participants from Harvard, MIT, Tufts, and the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research (NIBR). They worked together to develop a comprehensive solution for Boston Scientific to address readmission rates and costs associated with the care of heart attack patients. Along the way Varun had the opportunity to meet with recruiters at the event.

The team, made up of Xiaorui Xiong (NIBR), Griffin Clausen (MIT), Varun Kopparthy (Cornell), Nishanth Krishnamurthy (Tufts), and Ioana Moga (Harvard), honed their critical thinking and teamwork skills while being mentored by industry professionals throughout the process. A career fair and networking reception rounded out the activities that ended with a panel discussion by senior leaders from the sponsoring firms and consulting experts. Jen Nwankwo, now a management consultant for Bain & Company, initiated this case competition in 2013 while a grad student at Tufts "with the belief that biomedical Ph.D. and Postdoctoral candidates with a demonstrated interest in business are well equipped to tackle the tough issues facing companies in the life sciences ecosystem".

Varun offered a short summary of his experience and what he got out of participating:

"Participating in the Tufts New England Case Competition (TUNECC) 2017 was a great experience. TUNECC gave me an opportunity to learn about what it takes to be a consultant and experience one single day as a consultant. A total of 21 teams were challenged to develop a comprehensive care package for acute myocardial infarction designed to reduce readmission rates and costs and increase profits for the client Boston Scientific. My team and I have worked on the case for 10 days remotely and came up with a solution. I have learned many things about remote communication, task sharing, and teamwork during this process. On the day of competition, 5 teams were advanced into the finals including our team. We had an opportunity to present to a group of audience in the finals and answered judges questions. I am happy to share that our team was selected for the 3rd place in the competition. Overall, I am very pleased with our team's work and the experience I have got from this competition. I personally feel that I now understand a lot about consulting profession and am considering to find a career in consulting."